Note from TheGardeningSnail: This is another one of those “PDF Image files bounced through the program that turns it into text” pages. So…if there are “textual Gremlins”. Oops..sorry about that…
CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING
LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL
OCTOBER 4, 2011
A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on October 4, 2011 in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.
® Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza
❑ Mayor Pro-Tern Margarita Aguilar (Excused Absence)
® Council Member Frank Vierra
® Council Member Theresa Land
® Council Member Gurpal Sarnra
Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comments. There were no public comments.
The City Council subsequently went into Closed Session to discuss the following matters.
1 . Public Employee Appointment
(Government Code Section 54957)
Title: Assistant City Manager/Finance Director
2. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation
(Government Code Section 54956.9)
Number of Cases: One
Page 1 of 10
3. Conference with Labor Negotiator
(Government Code Section 54957.6)
Agency Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez
Employee Organizations: All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees.
The City Council came out of Closed Session and subsequently adjourned to the Regular Meeting
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting at 7:01 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.
- Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza
- Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar
- Council Member Frank Vierra
- Council Member Theresa Land
Council Member Gurpal Samra
CHANGES TO THE AGENDA
City Manager Ramirez noted that Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar asked that item number 8 be moved up because she had a previous engagement and would be leaving early.
AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS
1. Presentation by Bob Kalman, Environmental Management Services (EMS), Water and Wastewater Collection Systems Services Provided to the City of Livingston by EMS.
Bob Gillett, Chief Operations Manager along with Bob Kalman and Dan Manchester were present on behalf of Environmental Management Services (EMS).
Bob Gillett addressed the water and wastewater system services provided to the City by EMS. Brief discussion and a question and answer period followed.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS
Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.
Administrative Assistant Brenda Valenzuela was present to answer questions; however, no reports were given.
City Staff Announcements and Reports.
Public Works Superintendent Kathryn Reyes commented that some of the benches have been installed at Joseph Gallo Park and installation of all benches will be completed by Friday. She noted that tree trimming commenced this week and Public Works is starting a program where they will begin curb side pick up for limbs and branches. Superintendent Reyes stated that the weather is changing and advised the public to adjust their sprinklers and cut back on water usage. She also gave an update on the Wild Flower program in which the City plants wild flower seeds and the winter rains make the seeds sprout in spring. She added that this program is funded by donations.
Mayor Espinoza commented about a street tree over hanging onto the sidewalk and driveway and asked if Public Works could look at the situation.
Superintendent Reyes replied yes and that they are looking at all trees and starting to prune those types first.
City Manager Jose Ramirez stated that he wanted to thank Superintendent Reyes and her staff for addressing the problem at Hammatt and F Street. He said that corner is one of the main arteries in town and Public Works took care of the matter right away. He also thanked Mac Leal for getting the chipper from United Rentals, a used one with a one year warranty for an inexpensive price.
Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar expressed her thanks to the Public Works Department for their hard work. She knew that some of the residents had requested the benches in Joseph Gallo Park and they can’t wait for the drinking fountains to come also. Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar asked how we can get in contact with the property owner of the field where there used to be sweet potatoes but are weeds now because the lights are very limited there.
Superintendent Reyes noted that she can research the property owner and get a weed abatement notice out.
Council Member Land stated that there is an S and E missing on the sign at the Gallo Park and six lights that are out.
Superintendent Reyes noted that two barbecues will be installed at Gallo Park near the picnic table.
Council Member Land added that the benches are really nice and if anyone in that area is missing a kitten, she has it.
Council Member Samra stated that when trees are being pruned to be careful as he was told that when trees are being pruned on Winton Parkway they are making a mess.
Superintendent Reyes replied that those trees are dropping sap from the aphids.
Community Development Director Donna Kenney announced that the City had hosted a City-County dinner last week. She thanked all staff that participated in making it such a success and also La Morenita for a fine meal and the Dollar Mart for providing the pinatas used in the decorations.
Mayor Espinoza added that he would also like to thank the staff who participated in putting the dinner
Recreation Superintendent Jacquie Benoit announced that Thursday night at the Street Fair they are having a special Folkloric dance performance. Also the tri-tip dinner fundraiser for the Little Gals and Guys Park will be held on October 28th, so get your tickets.
Mayor Espinoza expressed his appreciation to Superintendent Benoit for her efforts with the Street Fair. He added that the event has been going on for a month and hopefully next year the City can bring in a lot more vendors and fresh vegetables and make it from spring to fall.
City Manager Announcements and Reports.
City Manager Ramirez stated that he would like to pick a date for the picnic shelter ground breaking and to please let Betty Cota know of a convenient date. He added that an update was given on the USDA Use Facilities Grant and that should be coming to the City Council soon. City Manager Ramirez added that staff recently met with a Wells Fargo Vice President about a community development proposal for the downtown commercial district.
City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.
Council Member Vierra commented on an item from the last City Council agenda that was listed under City Engineer Gottiparthy’s item about alley infrastructure. He noted that the City Council hasn’t approved the budget yet and asked where the monies were coming from.
City Engineer Gottiparthy responded that they are working on phase II of the water line improvements and there was some money in the water line replacement item from last year’s budget.
Council Member Vierra commented he heard about another water rate meeting held last week that was not posted for the public.
Council Member Samra responded that the meeting had nothing to do with rate increases, they met with staff only.
Council Member Vierra stated that Council Member Samra had said that everything would be out in the open where everyone could hear it.
Council Member Samra stated that no stake holders members were there, only staff was in attendance.
Mayor Espinoza asked if a date had been set for the next meeting.
Council Member Samra noted that they will be meeting soon and it will be announced to the public so that everyone will be able to attend.
Council Member Land added that she had a citizen approach her about her speaking into the microphone. She noted that it’s hard for the public to hear when the City Council does not speak directly into the microphone and therefore asked that they please speak directly into their microphones.
Mayor Pro Tem-Aguilar commented that it is conference week at the schools and children are getting out early so please be careful.
Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.
Mayor Espinoza asked if staff is still flushing all the hydrants. He asked if the City would flush the hydrants because people are complaining about smelly water from hydrants not getting flushed for the last two years. He added that "even my clothes are smelly at any house." Mayor Espinoza reported that the City Manager and he had attended a meeting in Fresno today about economic development. There were a lot of people from Wells Fargo attending and they are offering a lot of money for downtown businesses.
DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
8. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving Employment Agreement Between the City of Livingston and Odilon Ortiz Jr. for his Employment as Assistant City Manager/Finance Director.
City Manager Ramirez presented the agenda item.
Mayor Espinoza commented that he thought the contract was a good contract. He noted that there were five applicants and he would welcome the City Council’s approval of the contract.
Motion: M/S Espinoza/Land to adopt Resolution No. 2011-65 approving the Employment Agreement between the City of Livingston and Odilon Ortiz Jr. for his employment as Assistant City Manager/Finance Director. The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Aguilar, Land, Samra,
NOES: Council Members: Vierra
ABSENT: Council Members: None
Mayor Pro-Tern Aguilar left the meeting at approximately 7:50 p.m. due to a previous engagement.
2. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code Title 4, Chapter 2, Relating to Signage.
Community Development Director Kenney presented the agenda item. Mayor Espinoza asked if she added the sign dancers.
City Attorney Jose Sanchez responded yes, that sign dancer language was added by the Planning Commission.
Director Kenney noted that at first, the Commission was open to the idea of allowing sign dancers directly in front of businesses instead of intersections, but after lengthy discussion, they decided to prohibit them. She noted that the reason it came before the Planning Commission, was that the sign dancers come out on the weekends when staff is not around to enforce, so the thought was to regulate them with a permit and a fee. Director Kenney said they are currently prohibited in the City as animated signage, but the municipal code does not specifically call it out.
City Attorney Sanchez added that he had planned to request that the City Council pull those two sections and look at them closer for additional language.
Mayor Espinoza asked about political signs as he didn’t see anything about this in the ordinance. He added that he knows there are a lot of issues regarding political signs. Also, he knows that the City has the right to take them down, but the citizens need to know.
City Attorney Sanchez commented that he is sure that staff does contact those with signs and no permits. The signs in the City’s road rights-of-way are taken down, but not those on private property.
Mayor Espinoza noted that it has happened.
City Attorney Sanchez added that due process is followed anytime you do any kind of abatement on someone’s property. The ordinance amendment is focused on the City’s actual right of way.
Director Kenney commented that political signs are prohibited in City’s rights-of-way and the language was recommended by the Planning Commission to clarify that for most streets in the City, there is a 10′ right-of way.
Mayor Espinoza asked for Director Kenney to go over the main changes and he would like more time to discuss this so then maybe move the item to the next meeting.
Director Kenney asked if only the sign dancers and a clarification on the 10′ foot right-of-way will be coming back.
Council Member Samra asked if the 10′ right-of-way goes on to private property. Director Kenney responded it is the City’s right-of-way of 10′.
Council Member Samra added that if the right-of -way extends 10′ into his property he couldn’t post his sign next to the curb. So the sign has to be 10′ away from the curb? If you take small Main Street yards and if there is a fence, can you put the sign on the fence?
Director Kenney added that they can put a sign on the fence if it is not in the sight distance triangle and blocking the view of drivers at intersections and driveways.
Lengthy discussion followed.
Mayor Espinoza opened the hearing at 8:23 p.m.
Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 stated that she usually attends every Planning Commission and City Council meeting and she has noticed how few people show up at Planning Commission meetings. Then things get done and staff gets directed and then they come before the Council with language and then they change it and bat it back and around. She stated that you end up burning a whole lot of time and a whole lot of staff time, attorney’s time, City Council time discussing the same things over and over. Ms. Schell Rodriguez asked what the Council envisioned coming out of all this. She guessed her bottom line was that she is really tired of all the wheels spinning. She asked if you have a vision you ought to be able to figure it out, capture it on paper, come to an agreement and then tweak it later if need be. Pick a piece and get it down then go on to the next one. Ms. Schell Rodriguez added that business people complain about how it takes 3-4 months to get things done and asked how much of that is because the City Council wants to talk it to death. She noted that maybe more of the City Council needs to start showing up at Planning Commission meetings. One or another of you sit back there and maybe more of you need to sit back there. She suggested starting to televise the meetings, so that all of the City Council could at least watch the meeting. Ms. Schell Rodriguez stated that we need to quit this never ending cycle of talking things to death.
Council Member Samra commented that this is government and there is a process. He said there is a Planning Commission which is required by the state for a reason and if the City Council starts attending Planning Commission meetings then you have people not doing the job they are suppose to do then why have a Planning Commission. Council Member Samra noted the Planning Commission makes a recommendation and at the end, the City Council either agrees or disagrees. That is how the process is supposed to work.
Mike Sperry, 1328 First Street stated that he is all for signage on Hammatt Avenue because at the time of construction, the City did not force a monument sign out there. He said it would be out there for everyone to see, just like you see every other place in Turlock. Mr. Sperry stated that we dropped the ball somewhere and either make the property owner erect that and it is hard right now because of costs, or you let the business owners invest the money in that signage. He didn’t like Council Member Samra’s last comment and he knows that there are some people at home that will not like that either. He added that Council Member Samra is a citizen so he can attend some of the Planning Commission meetings.
Council Member Samra stated that yes we are citizens, but if we stand in the corner we will get a lot of complaints and then let your appointed officials do their jobs, then it comes here and if it doesn’t work then it goes back.
Mr. Sperry responded that he was not going to argue that, but the five Council Members are citizens and that is how they got to be on the City Council. He also stated the he has watched some of the City Council meetings from home and the broadcasts are horrible; hard to see certain people and also to hear.
Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing at 8:31 p.m. as there were no further comments from the public.
Council Member Vierra stated that several years ago he had a business in a shopping center in Modesto and payment toward signage was required in the rent. He felt the owner should be required to put tenant’s names on the sign for that complex.
Council Member Land stated she would like to thank Donna Kenney as she knows Ms. Kenney has been working diligently with the Planning Commission and she appreciates her going out to the businesses to hand deliver public notices and talk to them.
City Attorney Sanchez commented that he heard interest in continuing this item and an option to pull out the sign dancer and political sign sections instead. He noted that in looking at the other changes, they all increase the size and number of signs that a business can have. One option is to let the other changes go and work on the ordinance to refine sign dancer and political sign language. City Attorney Sanchez noted that staff can then work on these and bring them back to the City Council. He said this one would not have to go to the Planning Commission if the City Council wants this to come directly back to them.
Council Member Vierra asked how long it would take to work on these four sections.
City Attorney Sanchez stated that these can come back quickly. The political signs are critical so perhaps within the next two meetings.
City Attorney Sanchez commented that political signs will be looked at first since they have been going into the right-of- way.
Motion: M/S Samra/Land to Waive the First Reading and Introduce Ordinance No. 596 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code Title 4, Chapter 2, Relating to Signage with the exception to exclude 4-2-3, 4-2-4 (M), 4-2-5 (A), and 4-2-7 (B). The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Land, Samra, Vierra
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar
3. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-3-16-1 (A) (1) Setback Exceptions, Concerning Small Doorway Covers.
Community Development Director Kenney presented the agenda item.
Mayor Espinoza stated that he put this item on the agenda this time just like he did a couple of years ago and the City Council turned him down. He had addressed the rear setbacks on homes and he stated that is why he asked that Director Kenney put this on the agenda.
Director Kenney responded that she did not get the message to add rear setbacks to the door cover report.
Mayor Espinoza stated that he addressed the setbacks in a meeting with her and wanted this on the agenda. He commented that it should be part of the item which is being discussed and he was not happy. Discussion followed.
Director Kenney responded that she did not meet with the Mayor. She received direction from Interim City Manager Lewis and they had gone over Ms. Lewis’ notes together.
Council Member Vierra added that it refers to the General Plan of 2025 and subsequently asked isn’t that the one that is in litigation. He further asked how we can say that we are saying that we are going to be consistent with the 2025 General Plan.
City Attorney Sanchez stated that there are certain sections that staff is correcting and many others that are fine. Not all of it is a problem; that is why it refers to the 1999 General Plan too in making sure that we cover both plans. We let the public know through our CEQA analysis that we are consistent with both Plans. He added that when Director Kenney brings back her resolution of intent to do more setbacks work, the City Council should bring in the possible things that she and the Planning Commission should be looking at to give the City Council recommendations.
Mayor Espinoza opened the hearing for public comments at 8:48 p.m.
Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 angrily stated that if the City Council is going to take someone to task about something that did not go on the agenda, she would appreciate that they do it in private. She stated that we are here to talk about what’s on the agenda, not what is not yet on the agenda. She added that once again we are wasting time talking about something that is not on the agenda. She then asked that the City Council keep their comments to what is on the agenda.
Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing at 8:49 p.m. there being no further comments from the public.
Motion: M/S Samra/Land to Waive the First Reading and Introduce Ordinance No. 597 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-3-16-1 (A) (1) Setback Exceptions, Concerning Small Doorway Covers. The motion carried 3-1 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Land, Samra,
NOES: Council Members: Vierra
ABSENT: Council Members: Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar
Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 announced that the Livingston VFW will host a blood drive on October 6 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. She also had three questions: 1) has the statute of limitations expired on the Foster Farms lawsuit that had been dismissed without prejudice or does Foster Farms still have the ability to reinstate that lawsuit if they choose to do so; 2) can the city manager or finance director or any other department head have secondary employment or moonlighting and if they can is it allowed by their contracts, or does the City Council need to give them written permission; 3) did both official utility rate stakeholders committee liaisons Samra and Aguilar attend the meeting with staff.
Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street stated that a few meetings ago when it came out in the newspaper about the lawsuits and costs, and then the individual brought up about a past council member a citizen called down to Twenty Nine Palms, well he wanted to clarify that. He is the one that made the call and the individual that he called is the same one that came up here probably February or March from Twenty Nine Palms. She had called several citizens questioning her about the past city manager and one thing that was brought up was the lawsuits. At that time no one knew the costs other than somewhere around $1 million and that was the information that she had. When it came out in the newspaper he gave her a call to let her know that it was $3 million plus and he told her to check the Merced Sun-Star to get the exact figure. He also asked how the new city manager was doing. She informed him that he was working on the budget that was 1200 -1400 pages long. He told her that that was what Livingston’s usually had been and normally he would send it off back East somewhere to get a certificate from a company back there stating how good it was and that is how far the conversation went. Mr. Urnberg also noted that something was brought up about Mr. Gray, not sure but maybe about making comments on the internet and that was not him, he does not do that, and if he makes any comments it would be before the City Council and the public. He added that when he writes a letter to the editor he puts his full name, he does not hide anything.
Mike Sperry, 1328 First Street stated that he usually does not agree with or promote her, but Katherine
Schell Rodriquez’s comments peaked his interest. Are you going to answer those questions for her?
City Attorney Sanchez responded that he would answer them for the City Council and City Manager and they will report out.
4. Resolution No. 2011-64 Rejecting All Bids for Cal Fire Station #96 Vertical Air Flow Exhaust
Removal System and Authorizing the City Manager to Re-advertise for Bids.
5. Approval of Minutes Held on September 20, 2011 (Special Meeting).
6. Approval of Minutes Held on September 20, 2011 (Regular Meeting).
7. Approval of Warrant Register Dated September 28, 2011.
Council Member Land asked to pull item number 6, City Council Minutes: On page 2 the Court Theater donation of $500 was included in the $1500; page 3 Julio Valadez, not Valdez; and page 7 the Parks and Recreation Commission car wash will be held on October 1st, not October 5"’.
Motion: M/S Vierra/Land to approve consent agenda items numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8. The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Vierra, Land, Samra,
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar
The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:05 p.m.
City Clerk of the City of Livingston
APPROVED: November 1, 2011
Mayor or Mayor ProTempore
The written meeting minutes reflect a summary of specific actions taken by the City Council. They do not necessarily reflect all of the comments or dialogue leading up to the action. All meetings are digitally recorded and are an official record of the meeting’s proceedings. Digitally recorded verbatim minutes are available, upon request, and may be obtained at Livingston City Hall.